But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as Eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

Friday, April 15, 2011


I will tell you now that being diagnosed with cancer is a roller coaster ride.  It's bad news...good news....bad news....good news...up and down, up and down.  Today was a "good news day"! 

It started out at Dr. Zusan's office (my surgeon at the Breast Center).  They did not find anything concerning with the ultrasound of my other breast.  The MRI showed a tiny spot, but there wasn't anything on the ultrasound.  Plus, the MRI did not show the cancer growing any place else (in my breasts or chest wall or in my lymph nodes), except for another small tumor right below the one they knew about.  So, it appears the cancer is basically in the area they already knew about!   Good news!  I had been so anxious about the MRI and what it would show.

Then Dr. Zusan had a consultation with me about the surgery that is scheduled for next Thursday and explained what she would be doing.  She will remove two of my lymph nodes (the first two) and they will split them in half while I'm still in surgery to see if they see any cancer.  If they don't see any, then she won't remove any more.  If they do see cancer, she will continue to remove all of them.  This will also be a determing factor in whether I will need radiation later.  Also, even if they only have to remove those two, they will continue to dissect them to make sure there are no cancer cells anywhere in them.  If there are, it could mean going back in to remove the rest of the nodes.  So, next Thursday is a big day!
She will also be putting a port in under my skin on the opposite side of the cancer (my right side).  I found out she starts this out in my neck and then it will go down into my chest area.  The port is for my chemo to be administered through and will make it easier so I'm not having to be set up and poked every time they do it.  It will be remain there throughout my chemo and they will hook the chemo intravenous tube into it.  Make sense? 

Dr. Zusan was so encouraging and used that "other C word".  She told me that the goal is to cure me and it' IS curable and that's what they're working toward.  More good news!  She said I have a lot of positive things working for me and she expects me to do well and I was a good candidate to get the chemo first.  She also told me that I would be getting "advice" from others that may differ from my own treatment plan and that I need to trust my "team", as they are the experts working for me.  I appreciated her telling me that, as I know people may have differing opinions on my treatment (and mean well), but I am trusting my team totally.  She said that every person is different, every cancer is different and treatments are different and what was good for someone else may not be good for me.  I totally agree and understand that!  Just looking at me and my sister.....our cancers are so different.  While mine feeds off of estrogen, my sisters did not.   She totally did what was good for her.....but my treatment is not wrong because it may differ from her's.  It's hard not to compare with your sister when she just went through this last year, but I've come to realize....not all cancers are the same.  It's good to have my sister to talk with and we're learning so much together and she's a great support (as well as others).  She understands more than anyone what I'm going through and the tough decisions I face.  I'm so glad she's there for me.

Anyway, Dr. Zusan told me my prognosis is good!  MORE GOOD NEWS!  She talked about my future surgery (lumpectomy or masectomy)....I don't have to make that decision quite so quickly now that I won't be doing that until the chemo is finished (3-6 months from now).  She made an appointment for me with Dr. Jackson (plastic surgeon) so I can talk over the options of reconstruction with him.  Either way, I'll end up with perkier breasts!  :=)  Hey, I'll take all of the bonuses I can get!

My Her2 protein test finally came back...that one had me worried because it was taking so much longer than the others!  But, no worry...it came back negative, so that was more good news!  That will mean that I will not have to have that other drug for a year.  I'm so thankful for that!

Larry was able to sit in with me at the consultation with Dr. Zusan and he really liked her.  He told me he felt much better after listening to her and meeting her.  I knew he would!  She is so compassionate and encouraging....and so thorough!  Now I can't wait for my girls to meet her!  NOT those girls...they've already met her!  LOL!  I mean my daughter's, Jennifer and Erin!  :=)

Next was the Radiation Doctor.  He let me know that if I need radiation, I was not a candidate for the type that you put inside of you to radiate from the inside out (it only takes 5 days versus 7 weeks!).  The  reason I'm not a candidate for it is because I'm having the chemo first.  So, that's off the table!  Now, I may not need radiation at all....it depends on whether I get a masectomy or lumpectomy and whether it's found in my lymph nodes.  If I choose a lumpectomy, the radiation will be automatic.  I would have it every day for 7 weeks (Mon-Fri).  Wowser!  The good news....he said he would refer me to his partner who does the radiation at the Seymour Hospital, so I could have it done locally since it's too much to drive that far every day for 7 weeks!  That kind of took that weight off my shoulder.   So, that was more GOOD NEWS!  He told me that we're looking at early breast cancer and it's curable.  Once again...there was that "other C word"!!!!  He was very optimistic.  Between him and the surgeon today, I felt very uplifted and left with the confidence that they will be doing everything to cure this cancer!  I am going to beat this!

Next was the Echocardigram and EKG at the hospital.  Nothing really to report on this.  They just need to check out my heart before the surgery and chemo, so now I have that out of my way.  Every test puts me a step closer.

So, the game plan is to have the surgery (lymph nodes and port) next Thursday, April 21.  I'm eager to find out whether it spread to any of my lymph nodes.  I'll be coming home the same day...they said it would take a couple of hours.  Then on Friday (the following day), I will begin my chemo!  I'm ready!  I'm excited to get this show on the road...I'm ready to kill this stuff!

I cannot stress enough to GET YOUR MAMMOGRAMS!
If it weren't for my mammogram, this cancer would be growing and spreading in me and who knows how big or where it would be by the time they found it.  Still to this date, a lump cannot be felt!  I have a confession to make.  I, personally, went several years without getting my mammogram (before this).  It's easy to tell yourself that there's none in your family and minimize the importance and procrastinate.  That's what I did!  Thanks to my sister, Sheila, and my mom....I was able to realize the importance of a mammogram when they were diagnosed.  This cancer in me grew in just six months (last mammogram in August and then this one was in February).  I'm so thankful I didn't put it off again!  The radiation doctor today told me that "1 our of 7 women will develop breast cancer"...he said it's very common.  So, ladies, that's pretty high odds and the chances increase the older you get.  I know the fear of "they might find something"....but if they find it too late, the fear will be much worse.  Please, please get your mammograms!  I hope I am educating everyone as I go through this journey of my own.  Even though you may find it scary, there is so much progress today and many women are surviving this!  The earlier it is caught....the better your chances for a cure!   It is no longer a "death sentence" like years past and you can deal with the treatments if you are diagnosed.  Even chemo of today is different than yesterday, with anti nausea medicine given to you...people don't get sick like they used to.  I'm counting on that!  :=)

Until later.....Cindy

This verse was shared with me tonight (thanks so much Angie).  I will cling to that promise.

Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

1 comment:

  1. Hi Cindy -

    I followed your link from Splitcoast.

    Big hugs and prayers - thank you for being an inspiration.